Top 35 Greatest Songs to Be Played at a Funeral

As voted by UG community.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
18

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the lovely people of UG community discussing the jolly matter of finest songs of all time to be played at a funeral.

We received quite a few votes and over 650 comments, all of which were summed up into a lengthy rundown.

Note that there are no honorable mentions this time around, but the list was expanded into a hefty Top 35 roll.

The final result is quite varied, and features both "serious" and more humorous nominations.

You can check it all out in right the section below.

35. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

Kicking things off, you folks voted Jeff Buckley's rendition of classic Leonard Cohen track "Hallelujah."

YouTube preview picture

34. The Doors - The End

"This is the end, my only friend, the end..."

YouTube preview picture

33. Temple of the Dog - Say Hello 2 Heaven

"Say Hello 2 Heaven" is one of the first two songs Chris Cornell wrote when Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood died of overdose. Chiris said: "Right after Andy died, we [Soundgarden] went to Europe, and it was horrible, because I couldn't talk about it, and there was no one who had loved him around. I wrote two songs, 'Reach Down' and 'Say Hello 2 Heaven.' That was pretty much how I dealt with it. When we came back, I recorded them right away. They seemed different from what Soundgarden naturally does, and they seemed to fit together. They seemed like music he would like.

"I got the idea to release them as a single, and to get at least Stone and Jeff, or all of Love Bone, to play on it. I had the idea for a couple days, then, with an artist's lack of self-confidence, I decided it was a stupid idea. Somehow those guys heard the tape, and they were really, really excited. Stone and Jeff and our drummer, Matt, had been working on a demo for what ended up being Pearl Jam, so we had the idea that we would make an EP or a record, and maybe even do some of Andy's solo songs."

YouTube preview picture

32. Green Day - Ha Ha You're Dead

Switching to the humorous side, Green Day are up next with "Ha Ha You're Dead ."

YouTube preview picture

31. Ozzy Osbourne - See You on the Other Side

Released as the second single off 1995's "Ozzmosis," "See You on the Other Side" is a musical collaboration of Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, and late great Lemmy Kilmister.

YouTube preview picture

30. Pixies - Monkey Gone to Heaven

This one's about the death of us all a bit - Pixies and "Monkey Gone to Heaven." at No. 30...

YouTube preview picture

29. Avenged Sevenfold - So Far Away

This one's dedicated to The Rev...

YouTube preview picture

28. My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade

"Welcome to the Black Parade" comes as a part of My Chemical Romance's rock opera "The Black Parade," which tells the story of The Patient dying from cancer. In this tune, the protagonist is dying in the hospital bed.

YouTube preview picture

27. Pearl Jam - Black

Released on Pearl Jam's iconic 1991 debut album "Ten," "Black" is a story of a broken-hearted man lamenting his absent lover.

YouTube preview picture

26. Guns N' Roses - November Rain

"Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain..."

YouTube preview picture

25. Tenacious D - Dude (I Totally Miss You)

"Totally miss the fucked-up thing ya do..."

YouTube preview picture

24. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Castles Made of Sand

Described as "a sharply-observed reflection on life's bitter ironies," Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" is hailed as the most obviously biographical Hendrix tune, and one of the finest pieces on the matter of transience.

23. Pantera - Hollow

Pantera's "Hollow" is up next. It's a heavy tune about the ordeal of having a friend slip into a comatose or vegetative state...

YouTube preview picture

22. Lou Bega ‎- Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...)

Enough of those downers, it's mambo time!

YouTube preview picture

21. Riverside - Found (The Unexpected Flaw of Searching)

This one goes out to Piotr Grudziński...

YouTube preview picture

20. Tetris Theme Song (Korobeiniki)

Fun fact: the Tetris theme is a actually an 8-bit remix of a traditional Russian song from the 18th century called "Korobeiniki." It is frequently hailed as the ultimate theme for lowering a casket into the grave. Tetris was created by Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, hence the use of Russian folk music.

YouTube preview picture
YouTube preview picture

19. Queen - The Show Must Go On

While recording "The Show Must Go On" back in 1990, Freddie Mercury was fatally ill with AIDS and barely made it through the recording process. Brian May, who composed the majority of the track, recalled: "I said, 'Fred, I don't know if this is going to be possible to sing.' And he went, 'I'll fucking do it, darling' - vodka down - and went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal."

YouTube preview picture

18. Alice in Chains - Nutshell

Loneliness, despair, death... Alice in Chains and "Nutshell"...

YouTube preview picture

17. Alter Bridge - In Loving Memory

Mark Tremonti wrote "In Loving Memory" about his departed mother, Mary Elizabeth Tremonti. He said about the track: "There are a lot of themes on this record that are very personal, for example 'In Loving Memory' is about my mother who recently passed away. In terms of purely personal significance, you cannot get any deeper thanthat. It is definitely a sad song."

YouTube preview picture

16. Radiohead - Motion Picture Soundtrack

This one was actually written as an attempt to emulate soundtracks of classic Disney films from the '50s...

YouTube preview picture

15. Kansas - Dust in the Wind

An obvious choice - Kansas and "Dust in the Wind"... You're my boy blue!

YouTube preview picture
YouTube preview picture

14. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven

From "Stairway to Heaven"...

YouTube preview picture

13. AC/DC - Highway to Hell

...to "Highway to Hell" at Lucky 13!

YouTube preview picture

12. Dream Theater - The Spirit Carries On

"The Spirit Carries On" is a part of Dream Theater's 1999 album "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory." It tells a story of Nicholas, a troubled man going through past life regression therapy...

YouTube preview picture

11. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

"If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me"...

YouTube preview picture

10. Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven

"Tears in Heaven" is Eric Clapton coping with the death of his four-year-old son Connor, who died from falling from a 53rd-floor window in New York.

YouTube preview picture

9. Geto Boys - Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta

Up next are the Geto Boys and "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"...

YouTube preview picture

8. Black Label Society - In This River

"In This River" wasn't written with Dimebag Darrell in Zakk Wylde's mind, but it certainly became Dime's song....

YouTube preview picture

7. Metallica - Orion

Metallica, Cliff Burton, "Orion"...

YouTube preview picture

6. King Crimson - Epitaph

"Confusion will be my epitaph..."

YouTube preview picture

5. Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde

Dave Mustaine had this to say about "A Tout Le Monde": "It's NOT a suicide song. What it is, it's, you, it's when people have a loved one that dies and they end on a bad note, you know, they wish that they could say something to them. So this is an opportunity for the deceased to say something before they go.

"And it was my impression of what I would like to say to people, if I had say, 3 seconds to do so in life before I died I'd say to the entire world, to all my friends, I love you all, and now I must go. These are the last words I'll ever speak, and they'll set me free. I don't have to say I'm sorry, I don't have to say I'm going to miss you, or I'll wait for ya. You know, I'll just say I loved you all, good, bad, indifferent, I loved you all."

YouTube preview picture

4. Queen - Another One Bites the Dust

Nothing says funeral time like a funky bass line...

YouTube preview picture

3. Quad City DJ's - Space Jam Theme Song

Come on and slam, welcome to the jam!

YouTube preview picture

2. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

The silver medal this week goes to Pink Floyd and "Wish You Were Here." Dealing with Roger Waters' feelings of alienation from the entire world, the song also features legendary Stéphane Grappelli on violin bits.

YouTube preview picture

1. Monthy Python - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

It's nice to see you folks so optimistic! "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" got the gold fair and square!

YouTube preview picture

108 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wisthler
    Yay, it still suprised me that nobody suggested
    firebirdguy1972
    I did. The Sid Viscous version anyway...
    Binbags
    Well no wonder no one voted for it. No one has ever heard this Sid Viscous version you speak of. Millions have heard the Sid VICIOUS version though.
    Anjohl
    Just the worst song. Far too long and rambling. If you pick this at karaoke, I want you to die.
    Machineflame
    Devin Townsend Funeral?
    8StringTerror
    Funeral, Bastard and The Death Of Music are perhaps the best three consecutive songs ever recorded
    Anjohl
    Nah, nothing by him deserves to be on any list besides "most overrated and untalented performer".
    mrjohnnydel
    If you replaced the "n" in your screen name with a hyphen, phonetically the name would become "a-hole." Food for thought. Finally got the chance to see him live on his last tour. Ocean Machine was the first album of his I purchased back when it was released. Quite the talented individual! Funny man too. Had the whole audience laughing during and in between every song. Biomech is still my favorite of his I think.
    Anjohl
    And if you replaced your bad opinions with $5 bills, we'd all be rich.
    Sebo
    Still can't believe this (Death - Voice of the soul) got only 2 upvotes:
    jman99
    I ADORE this track. But for something as personal as a funeral, it is really powerful to have lyrics.
    Dictatosaurus
    Suprised no one thought of Funeral March by Chopin, especially after it was on an earlier UG list.
    2Ties
    dude im surprised no one said what a wonderful world by louis armstrong, nothing about death but i want it played at my funeral
    tpfaf713
    Elton John's Funeral for a Friend Norman Greenbaum's Spirit in the Sky
    AvoidingBee7
    Why space jam?????
    GameSkate
    So you could win a slam dunk battle with Satan after beign thrown to Hell, it's the only way to escape from this place.
    soundsabbath
    Wish you were here and Pearl Jam's Just Breathe were two songs I picked for my mums funeral and they both felt beautifully devastating at the time but no regrets as my mum loved both bands. I was glad to see Nutshell in there as well as Say Hello to Heaven. Heart wrenchingly beautiful.
    St00pId
    Was too late to add something to the vote but I would have added this.
    There are many great version of the song of course.
    jayden453
    Personally I want 'Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue' played at my funeral.
    dannn5150
    My Aunt had "Always Look..." Played at her funeral as the service finished. I was doing ok up until that point, I smiled and remembered her dark sense of humour. Then it really hit me that I'd never laugh with her again, yep, that broke me. Glad it made No. 1
    skidlz
    I thought Dream Theater's Take Away My Pain would be a great funeral song for a father, especially since it was written after the death of Petrucci's. Sorry, Portnoy, "The Best of Times" wasn't as good.
    SilentReaction
    Surprised UG didn't attempt to make a stairway to heaven/Taurus joke...Led Zeppelin - stairway to heaven from the album Spirit...
    Fishmania
    I'm in a 2-man band called Time Relapse, and my bandmate's grandmother (who loves our music and comes to all our shows) just passed away 2 days ago. Her last wish was for us to play Stairway to Heaven acoustically at her funeral, so that's what we're doing on Tuesday. It's amazing the effect that music can have on our lives and it's ability to bring us closer to the people we care about.
    elsewhither
    if they play november rain at my funeral i'll rise from the dead and kill every fucker there.
    0zzmosis
    Cemetery Gates would have been a better choice for Pantera... It makes more sense, I think -_-